Ka Hikina O Ka Lā is a specialized program at the University of Hawai’i Maui College (UHMC) funded by the National Science Foundation in response to the application to erect the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST) upon the summit of Haleakala. The sacred and legendary mountaintop provides extensive educational opportunities through collaborations between the Native Hawaiian community, University of Hawaii Maui College, and the National Science Foundation. This approach provides a learning environment that integrates Native Hawaiian cultural knowledge and practices into modern scientific technology and instruction. Ka Hikina O Ka Lā is committed to increasing the participation of Native Hawaiians in higher education and guiding them to leadership roles in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). The program aims to continuously build strong relationships among cultural resources, scientists, technicians, educators, STEM employers, and community leaders.

“Encouraging the practice of traditional ideas in modern study”

*Preference given to Maui County residents and individuals of Hawaiian ancestry to the extent permitted by law.

Our program focuses on 4 main areas:

High School Summer Bridge

These are intensive 1 & 4 week courses that offer students the opportunity to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as well as learn about the cultural practices and historical significance of Hawaii, in a fun and engaging environment. Students will be exposed to a variety of disciplines. which include Marine Science, Biotechnology, Computer Science and Engineering, and Hawaiian Studies. During the summer course students will participate in field trips, in-class activities, and lectures designed to stimulate their interest in STEM careers and Hawaiian culture.



High School Early Admit

The Ka Hikina O Ka Lā Early Admit is a FREE program designed for Maui County high school students to earn FREE college credits by completing coursework at UHMC through in-person and/or video conferencing classes. The program focuses on students interested in pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) and /or Hawaiian Studies. The FREE program is designed and delivered through a collaborative partnership between the Ka Hikina O Ka Lā program, UHMC, and the National Science Foundation. The goal of the Early Admit Program is to support students, parents, and our community by providing an innovative and efficient educational program for accelerated learning that reduces the time and expense of education beyond high school.

(We will continue to take applications and review them on a rolling basis. We strongly advise on applying for the program at your earliest convenience since available spots may be limited.)


Early Admit informational flyer – click here

College Cohort

This is a merit based and highly competitive program developed to assist college students interested in the science, technology, engineering, mathematics or related fields, who also have shown an interest in native Hawaiian language, culture, and history. Students who are selected will receive individualized academic and personal support through program counselors, priority registration if applicable, student employment, semester and summer internships, networking opportunities, academic travel to conferences and events, job placement assistance upon degree completion, and financial assistance through performance-based stipends. In order to qualify students must be actively pursuing one of the following degrees, which include but not limited to Hawaiian Studies, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nursing, Dental, Engineering, and Applied Business and Information Technology.


Cultural and Community Outreach

We are currently working with various cultural outreach programs on the UH Maui College campus and in the community to support student enrichment. All students who are selected to be part of our “Academic Cohort” are required to participate in these activities in order to help them develop a more well-rounded academic experience. In addition to student involvement we are also actively working with local K-12 schools to create professional development workshops and develop curriculum that incorporates modern scientific processes with the historical knowledge of native Hawaiians. Native Hawaiians understood the complex physical and biological processes that occurred throughout nature, and are recognized as being the worlds greatest mariners. Their knowledge of the oceans allowed them to transverse great distances and procure food in new and innovative ways that till today hold precedence.

For more information click here

Register for STEM Teacher Workshop 2013 click here

Post Workshop Survey click here

Workshop Resource Page click here

College Cohort:

Outreach – STEM

Outreach – Culture


Students (Click Here!)                Community/Teachers (Click Here!)


Applications for the 2015 Summer Bridge are now closed. Please check back in February 2016.

Application for the Early Admit Fall 2015 is now CLOSED!!! 

Application for the College Cohort 2015-2016 Academic Year is now CLOSED

We are currently updating our program information. During this process some informational links may not be active.

Staff Contact

Kathy Owara-Takeo

Community Outreach and Scholarship Associate

owaratak@hawaii.edu, 808-984-3654

Debra Bal

Operations Administrative Associate

shirotad@hawaii.edu, 808-984-3798

Please feel free to contact us at hikina@hawaii.edu.
You can also find us on Facebook at: facebook.com/hikinamaui  or Instagram at: #KOKL










Funded by the National Science Foundation:

Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope Mitigation Initiative